What I learned by not making any beauty purchases for eight months
In January I decided to try and stop buying any beauty products for a whole year.
My objectives were:
- be more mindful about my motivations for buying
- save some money
- make some space in my house by using up what I already have
- when I do buy, to buy “better” (products with a lower impact or with social impact added)
- “stick it to the man” by contributing less to an exploitative beauty industry which sets unrealistic expectations of women.
I cant say I’ve been wholly successful, there have been times when I’ve fallen off the wagon, but I don’t think this has been an easy task.
I probably hadn’t given that enough recognition at the outset. For some people buying beauty products can easily turn from habit to addiction. If your self-esteem isn’t great, it can be difficult to break.
I’ve certainly broken the cycle of buying beauty products quite so regularly and I think that’s a huge win. I’m now mindful when I’m making a purchase, I think about it for longer, I ask myself if I really need it, and if I don’t, I wait.
Over the course of the past few months I’ve noticed that I had been making beauty purchases with little to no thought. There are times when I’ve been in shops and I’ve noticed that I’m attracted by packaging and I’m lead by “prestige”.
If it’s expensive, that makes it better, right?
If it is expensive it must work.
I’ve also noticed that I am attracted to products based on a vague recollection that something was cool, new, or trendy.
A strange foggy memory that I’ve read something about this before, that a beauty blogger wrote a piece about it, that someone mentioned it to me.
Just the fact that Cult Beauty is called Cult beauty is enough to persuade me that the products there are important, cool, cutting edge.
I’m also a sucker for…
Strange ingredients: rosehip, broccoli, egg white, rose oil, bicarbonate of soda.
Some sense of otherness or difference: Korean beauty in ridiculous packaging, sheet masks, organic small batch brands.
Most disturbingly, I’ve realised that I can pretty much convince myself that I have any of the flaws described on that packaging in order to rationalise my buying.
Dry skin, sensitive skin, lines, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, enlarged pores, breakouts, oily skin. Yes, some of these things are contradictory.
These are flaws I have and need a product to sort out.
I also noticed that I hardly ever finish my products because I get bored of them faster than I use them.
I currently have around six serums and night creams in my bedside drawer. This is such an enormous waste of money because the ones that languish inevitably end up in the bin after a few dusty months in the drawer.
I do think that I’ve done enough to break the habit of buying, and now, when I do buy, I’m mindful of the above.